For motorcyclists, Colorado is a little slice of heaven on earth. Few places in the United States can rival this state for mile after mile of exciting, as well as beautiful roads – many of which are in the magnificent Rockies. Some of these routes seem as if they could continue climbing straight into the sky. Check ahead before tackling some of Colorado’s higher roads, which may be unexpectedly closed due to late or early snowfalls.
Why not start at the top, right? Mt. Evans Highway, also known as State Route 5, is the highest paved road in the United States. A word of warning, its 14,264-foot altitude may cause some people to get dizzy. From the summit of this road, riders will be looking down at the surrounding mountain peaks. This road is not for the faint of heart as it is narrow, has sharp switchbacks and sheer drop-offs without guardrails. Mt Evans Highway boasts some of the most stunning scenery in Colorado, which is saying a lot. In addition, riders may see mountain goats, bighorn sheep or elk while traveling this route. To get to this spectacular road, riders can take I-70 west from Denver to Route 103 in Idaho Springs. From Idaho Springs, it is about 12 miles to Mt Evans Highway.
Riders looking for a spectacular ride that is not as high, but only for the brave should head over to Independence Pass, which is a twisty, narrow road between Aspen and Twin Lakes. This 42-mile route, which is also known as Colorado 82, tests a rider’s nerves with switchback after switchback and frightening drop offs without guardrails. Just to make it even more interesting, some portions of Independence Pass even narrow down to one lane. For a nice break from this technical road, riders can stop and explore the ghost town of Independence near the top of this pass. To get to Independence Pass from Denver, riders can take I-70 west to State Route 24, which they will then take past Leadville to State Route 82.
The 108-mile section of San Juan Skyway that stretches from Durango to Montrose is another favorite with motorcyclists. This road, which is also known as US-550, is infamous for having some really twisty sections with sheer drop-offs and no guardrails, especially the portion known as the Million Dollar Highway that is located between Ouray and Silverton. The small towns scattered along this route, such as Telluride, Silverton and Ouray, are known for having some biker-friendly restaurants and accommodations, as well.
Another route that is beloved by motorcyclists is US 6 over the Loveland Pass. This road, which sits at 11,990 feet, is loaded with tight switchbacks and sweepers and has a steady steep 6.7-percent grade. Taking US 6 is an alternate to going through I-70’s Eisenhower Tunnel. The Loveland Pass route is a scenic 19-mile ride that takes riders along the side of the Dillon Reservoir and across the Continental Divide. Unlike other high roads in Colorado, Loveland Pass remains open during the winter, but it should only be ridden with great care during this time of the year.
Of course, Colorado's most famous road is probably Pikes Peak Highway in Colorado Springs. This is a 19-mile ride with switchbacks, steep drop-offs and no guardrails. Some of Pikes Peak Highway, which summits at 14,110 feet, is unpaved.
While it may be hard for riders to tear themselves away from these and other equally great roads, Colorado hosts a large number of rallies and other events to tempt them away from a day or two of riding. One of the best events in Colorado is the American Salute Rally, which was formerly known as the Cripple Creek Salute Rally. This event is traditionally held in the small town of Cripple Creek, although it did move to Winter Park for one year in 2010. This three-day event is held in August and features a large ride – approximately 5,000 bikes -- in honor of the military. The American Salute Rally also features numerous vendor booths and live musical acts.
Disclaimer: All information is provided as a service to motorcycle riders, and the opinions expressed here are subjective. Although we have tried to research this information thoroughly, it is possible that changing circumstances can cause this information to become inaccurate. In addition, the conditions and roads described can change without notice for a number of reasons, including closings, weather conditions and maintenance. Motorcycle events such as rallies and rides may also be cancelled or dates changed without notice, as well. This site is not responsible for these types of circumstances, which are beyond our control, and riders relying on this information will be doing so at their own risk. This site is not liable for any actions a rider takes based on the information provided here. Please consult other sources before heading out on these roads and do not use the directions given here as a map, as again, circumstances may have affected their accuracy.